Taniya Nayak talks Food Network’s ‘Restaurant Impossible,’ her design baby Boston’s Abby Lane, the green room design for Rachael Ray, and HGTV’s Billion Dollar Block.
Mark: And my wife Theresa. We are designing our way into the new year.
Theresa: We are designing our way into the new year because it’s such a perfect opportunity. You have all of the decorations out for the holidays and you’re putting everything away. It’s a good time to take a moment and to connect with your inner designer and try to figure out what you want your whole mojo to be for this new year. What better way than to talk to one of our favorite designers, Taniya Nayak. How are you?
Mark: Hey Taniya, are you with us?
Taniya: I’m with you. You guys are my favorite talk show hosts. How are you guys doing?
Theresa: We’re doing wonderfully. I think we’re doing even better now that we heard that wonderful compliment.
Taniya: It’s true. I have to ask you guys, did you take down your holiday decorations yet?
Theresa: Most of them. I did a 12 days of Christmas little bucket project. I decorated these little buckets with the kids and hung them up for the 12 days of Christmas. I haven’t taken that down yet because it’s so super cute and the kids and I did it together.
Taniya: I’m impressed. I’m impressed. I’m that girl that takes the tree down the next day after Christmas. I’m ready to move on, not after Christmas, sorry, take that back, after New Year’s. Right after New Year’s I’m ready to move on and start fresh, so I get rid of it.
Theresa: You are super organized then. We don’t have that kind of mojo here.
Mark: Between doing restaurant and possible a pilot called Billion Dollar Block on HGTV and even hosting the White House Christmas Through The Years on HGTV, my question for you is when you find that kind of time?
Taniya: That was nice. I like that. Actually, I don’t know. I think this year I have made two resolutions I have. One is to actually make more time for myself and my family and my friends, and then the other one is to get more organized. Theresa, you think I’m organized? Let me tell you, girl, I am not. The chaos of running in the house, unpacking, repacking, running back out, it gets cluttered fast. I’ve really made it a pact to get myself organized this year and just not let it clutter up and pile up.
Theresa: You have to be in really good shape to be able to keep up with your life, though, too. I can imagine that with all the running around that you’re doing, and I say in Twitter that you’re spin classes now too.
Taniya: Did you notice that I didn’t do another tweet about spin class? I did one. That is also my third resolution, like everyone else’s, lose five pounds.
Theresa: You don’t need to lose five pounds.
Mark: Is your resolution to do spin class?
Taniya: Spin class period, yeah.
Theresa: Do an annual spin class. That’s good. That would be a good resolution.
Taniya: It’s one thing that I fulfilled it. I fulfilled my resolution, so I did good.
Theresa: I was checking out you have a gorgeous new website, TaniyaNayak.com, and the cutest photos of you on there, I have to say. I’m kind of jealous.
Taniya: Thank you. Oh please, Ms. Gorgeous thing.
Taniya: Mark knows that. Theresa and I are each other’s biggest fans. We could sit here and compliment each other all day.
Mark: I have to interject a story here that I don’t think you’re going to know about that when I was looking on Taniya, T A N I YA N A Y A K.com.
Theresa: Good spelling bee.
Mark: I’m with it antidisestablishmentarianism. I’m going through there. I’m checking out what you’re doing. I love the photography, by the way. That is top drawer.
Taniya: Thank you.
Mark: Out of nowhere and ad pops up for a TV show on FOX, and I’m thinking it’s just a random ad whatever. Then, I realize that it is my wife’s favorite television show. I’ve never seen the ad before. I’ve never seen it on any other website, except yours, proving that once again you too are attached at the hip.
Theresa: What is my favorite show, dear?
Mark: The New Girl.
Taniya: The only thing wrong, The New Girl, right. The only thing wrong with that statement is that her favorite show should be Restaurant Impossible.
Theresa: That is so true.
Theresa: The thing is is that Mark always tells me that I’m just like Zoey’s character on that show, like I am the new girl. I totally act like her.
Taniya: I can see that. I can see that.
Theresa: I’m a little quirky and I sing little songs around the house and a little bit of an oddball and stuff like that.
Taniya: She’s adorable.
Mark: Speaking of Restaurant Impossible, you’ve been tweeting at Taniya Nayak about the Whiskey Creek episode quite a bit. I have to admit, I guess I’ve been watching too much New Girl, I haven’t seen this one yet.
Taniya: Really? The good thing is every time we have a new episode air on one week, the next week you know it’s going to air because we always have four episodes go back to back every Wednesday. They’ll always show the one that they just showed the previous week, so stay tuned on Wednesdays and you’ll catch it. They’re re-air it then.
Mark: Excellent. Excellent, I’m excited because there’s a lot of chat on Twitter about that. It seems like it was a huge, huge challenge.
Taniya: Mark, I know you would appreciate this being into woodworking and construction as you are. This was a log cabin or something built in, I don’t know, the 20’s, early 20’s, I believe it was like what do you call I suppose, I forgot the name of it, but the kind of thing where people would be in, not a speak-easy, but it was a saloon type of thing. It was real private. They blocked out all the windows on it so that people could go in there and have a drink, and the front of the house was a convenience store. Then, I think they’d go to the back where you could actually go and drink. The actual space was very interesting. I don’t think they did a single thing to it since 1920. The construction of it was literally falling apart. Robert actually make a joke saying, “This building’s really old, whatever, try not to let it fall apart on you tonight while you guys are working on it.” I’m like, “Don’t even joke like that.” I’m starting to get a little nervous.
Theresa: Was it haunted too?
Taniya: It could’ve been. There were dead things all over the place just hanging from the ceiling, dead raccoons. I’m actually a fan of antlers and stuff like that, particularly I like when I see that they’re fake and not real antlers necessarily. I just like that look, that lodgey log cabin look. This was that on steroids. It was that 10 times over. There was just too many dead animals hanging on the walls.
Mark: I’m swallowing back a little bit when you said dead things hanging from the ceiling. Were they recently alive, I don’t want to talk about it.
Theresa: He’s going into his man area where his imagination really went crazy when you said dead things.
Mark: I’m sorry. I can’t even continue with it. Anyway, Abby Lane in Boston. There’s a video on your website.
Taniya: Oh my God, he follows me on Twitter. That’s awesome.
Mark: Are you kidding me? I love all of the things in that video, but I love some of the things you talked about relative to design in there which brought in masculine cues, feminine cues to create this eclectic space. I just love how you did that from color to texture to everything.
Taniya: Thank you. That was such a challenge. I remember a time when we all did a phone call a couple years ago. I had to be about two years ago, one of our first calls together. I was standing knee deep in construction rubble. I was literally in it when we were talking. I had apologized to you guys saying, “I’m really sorry. It might be noisy in the background, but I’m here right now. I’m just starting this project.” It was almost two years ago, so to see that come to a close finally and to people in there eating and drinking and having fun I’m so happy with the way it turned out. It’s just literally my baby. That is my design baby.
Theresa: We have to go and check it out. We have to trip, hon.
Taniya: Yes, you have an open invitation, dinner on me whenever you guys are ready, open bar tab, girl and guy.
Theresa: We’ll be there tomorrow. Just have to find a babysitter. I’m excited too. I’ve been seeing the work you’ve been doing with Rachael Ray. Is there anything new that you’re working on with her?
Taniya: Several months ago, I’d say back in August, I went in and we did the Green Room, myself and actually Tom Bury from Restaurant Impossible who you guys know as well. I know you’ve interviewed him in the past. We teamed up and we tackled the Green Rooms. Rachael Ray had moved into a new studio. That was exciting. Every single celebrity that’s on her show sits in one of my rooms that I designed which I think is amazing. They called me up to do one more room that they had. It was a huge conference room and it takes in overflow for when they have a lot of celebrities there that day or a lot of guests, then they’ll also use this room. There has to be a makeup area, a Green Room, a hair salon, a conference room, all of that rolled in one. I’m going to go and implement that design and it should be airing this week.
Theresa: Wow. I’m very excited. We’re going to check that out, Mark.
Mark: I’m going to go there for a conference.
Theresa: You’re going to go and have a conference there?
Mark: Look, I want to watch Rachael on TV and everything, but what I want to see is Taniya’s work, so I’m going there for a conference in the conference room.
Taniya: Rachael puts the best food out in her Green Room. You guys need to get in there as a guest on her show so that you can actually sit in there and eat food. I’d love to see a picture of Mark getting all dolled up with the makeup artist and the hair stylist.
Theresa: I can’t even tell you when we have gone on TV and he gets his makeup done. I have to say this and embarrass him. He loves the makeup brush. It’s like the white noise of an airplane. It makes him just relax and want to go to sleep.
Mark: Which, unfortunately, we have to do now as we have to take a break.
Theresa: Go to sleep?